Sunday, May 11, 2003

Sock collecting keeps teacher on her toes

Prize possessions

By Marsie Hall Newbold
Enquirer contributor

[IMAGE] Donna Wales has almost 200 pairs of socks.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
Who: Donna Wales, 42, of Wyoming, a teacher at Gymboree Play & Music, an early childhood, parent-child enrichment program in Symmes Township.

On display: Her collection of close to 200 pairs of fun socks.

"I haven't actually counted," she confesses, "There are too many!"

Where: Most of Wales' toe covers are kept in three drawers. The overflow is tucked into plastic shoeboxes underneath the dresser in the bedroom she shares with her husband, Todd.

Toe-tally terrific: "I started off with holiday socks," Wales says. "I used to teach kindergarten and would buy socks for Christmas. That turned into Halloween and St. Patrick's Day, and now I can match my socks to just about any day or occasion that I need to."

Serendipity: That Gymboree Play & Music just happened to have a no-shoe policy turned out to be a happy coincidence. "Working here kind of intensified my search to find socks," she says.

So many choices: Some of her more unusual socks have pictures of manatees, toothy smiles and recipes. She also owns a pair that look like black ballet slippers, a pair with little socks all over them and another with Goldilocks and the Three Bears on the toes. The pair that never fails to send her students into fits of giggles have little toenails painted on them.

All in the family: Her collection is constantly growing because friends and students give them to her for presents. The Waleses' daughters - Kelsey, 14, and Michelle, 11 - also share their mother's passion for patterned hosiery.

"We're always on the lookout for socks," Wales says. "What's great about collecting socks is they are fun, inexpensive and easy to find.You can find them at just about any boutique or department store, but my favorite places are Old Navy, Target and Kohl's."

Sock it to her: Wales admits that even she loses a few socks in the wash. With so many to keep track of, she prefers to fold the pairs together and place them in the drawers in "file fashion."

Why not? Sometimes she even changes socks in the middle of the day. "If one of my students brings me a pair of socks," Wales says, "I'll change into them right then and there. I always tell them, life's too short to wear boring socks!"

Share your prize possessions with Marsie Hall Newbold by mail: c/o The Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202: e-mail: Please include a daytime telephone number.

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